What is Unasyn?

Unasyn are categorized under penicillin antibiotics to fight against bacterial infections such as cellulitis, infected daibetic foot ulcer and many more. It is a combination of the antibiotic ampicillin and a beta lactamase inhibitor known as sulbactam. Penicillin works by breaking down the cell wall of the bacteria thus preventing it from being alive and multiplying in our body.

Unfortunately, some bacteria possess some enzymes called beta lactamase which functions to cleave open the penicillin and prevent them from acting upon them. To prevent this, a new chemical compound called beta lactamase inhibitor such as sulbactam is added to increase the efficiency.

Indications of Unasyn

Unasyn is usually indicated for treatment of common infections due to susceptible strains of microorganisms in the conditions as below;

  1. Skin conditions

Skin and skin structure conditions like erysipelas, cellulitis, and infected abscess caused by certain beta-lactamase producing organisms such as Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella spp., Proteus mirabilis and Enterobacter spp.

  1. Intra-abdominal infections

Intra- Abdominal infections such as abscess, colonic infections and others are usually the common indications for usage of Unasyn.

  1. Gynecological infections

Infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease, tubo-ovarian abscess not requiring surgery, gonococcal and other infections from the female reproductive system.

  1. Respiratory infections

Upper respiratory infections such as sinusitis, otitis media and tonsillitis, Also used for lower respiratory infections such as bronchitis, and bacterial pneumonias.

What should you consider before taking Unasyn?

This medication is contraindicated if you have any allergy to ampicillin or sulbactam or if you ever had;

  • Severe allergic reaction to any penicillin antibiotic previously
  • Problems with your liver such as hepatitis or jaundice while using this antibiotic.

You must have a proper indication before taking this medication. Do consult your doctor if you have any of these contraindications to prevent unwanted consequences. Before therapy with penicillin like Unasyn, careful enquiry on previous hypersensitivity and serious allergic reaction should be taken in account and discontinued immediately if you develop these side effects.

If you are having renal impairment, do tell your doctor before starting taking this medication. Your doctor would most probably make some dosage adjustments based on your kidney impairment level to prevent further damage to the organ.

How to use Unasyn tablet?

Unasyn are usually taken in intramuscular or intravenous routes in the hospital setting, however there are also tablet preparations of Unasyn used for indications stated above and for patients who had previously taken the IM or IV route.

The tablet forms of Unasyn are usually prepared in 375 mg or 750mg dosage. In 375mg Unasyn, it contains 147 mg sulbactam and 220mg ampicillin while in 750mg dosage, contains 294mg sulbactam and 440mg ampicillin.

Unasyn tablets can be taken with or without meals. Do follow your prescriptions as given by your treating doctor. Follow the amount of tablets and the duration prescribed appropriately to prevent overdose of medication leading to serious side effects.

Side effects of Unasyn

Common side effects of Unasyn experienced by patients are as follow;

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Stomach pain
  • Vaginal itchiness
  • Itching
  • Swollen tongue
  • Thrush (whitish plaques or patches inside mouth or throat)

These side effects do not require additional treatment, however if symptoms persist and become severe, do visit a doctor to evaluate your and if needed to discontinue the medication you have been taking. It is also advisable to frequently check your organ system dysfunction especially during prolonged duration of therapy, this will include, renal, hematopoietic and hepatic system.

Serious anaphylactic reactions will need to be treated immediately with adrenaline, oxygen, intravenous steroids and emergency airway management such as intubation will be indicated at times.

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Jonathon Hoppe